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Archive for the ‘#coaching’ Category

Embracing Our Ability To Give and Recieve the No’s

Collecting the No’s Along with the Yes’s

I saw a post today from someone who received a “no” to a recent pitch. She explained it isn’t as much a rejection as an affirmation she’s showing up and as such, is a cause for celebration. If you don’t show up, the answer is always no, but if you do, eventually, there will be yes’s mixed in with those no’s and frankly, you can’t possibly accommodate all the feelers you put out there, all the offers you make and the pitches you send. You have to expect some rejections and even embrace them as they give you more time to handle the ones who accept your offer or seek out your services.

Thinking about it, I felt the same way about rejections I received for article writing pitches. Although I was a bit disheartened at the time, I was also proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone and trying. Not only that, the no’s we receive are confirmation someone actually paid attention. How many times do we send out queries, offers, or pitches, only to find they get lost in the void. Nobody responds to our initial pitch, and even follow-up emails and calls go unanswered. I’d much rather have a good, solid no than find myself pitched into the black hole of not-worthy-of-a-responsedom.

Each of us is Selling Something

Years ago I was in between jobs and part of a local group of professionals who were associated with the EDD (California Employment Development Department) and supported each other in their job searches with resources, community outreach programs and presentations by members and guests. One of the first things they asked was “who here is a salesperson”. Only a few hands went up, as the speaker expected. He then went on to explain we are all salespeople. In one way or another, we are selling ourselves. As salespeople, rejection is part of the game. If we aren’t receiving our fair share of rejections, we’re not engaging enough. I was going to say, “making enough offers” but realized it goes counter to what I not only believe, but try to live by: sales is all about building relationships.

The most effective salespeople I’ve ever encountered were those who spent time getting to know people without worrying about whether or not a person was a likely candidate for the product or service they sold. They showed genuine interest in everyone else’s businesses and stories, offering their own only if prompted to do so. Though I’m still learning, this is the kind of person I aspire to be.

Learning from the Best in the Business

Fortunately, I am seeing plenty of fantastic examples lately. In particular, Kevin Huhn, an absolute master of media and exposure who I met on an online meetup recently. Everyone was invited to talk about what they do, and he was incredibly supportive of each of our monologues. It wasn’t until well into the call I realized he hadn’t shared what he did, so I asked the question. He was so humble when speaking about his journey and the wealth of skills and talents he uses to help launch his clients into the spotlight. Yet, it’s only part of what his business provides. I had to actually visit his website to understand the magnitude and scope of what he and his company provide. He’s the omni-dimensional entrepreneur we’d all like to be.

One thing I’m learning by hanging out with a lot of successful entrepreneurs is we all have valuable experience and skills. Yet many of us aren’t even clear about what we know or how we can help others. Once we’re clear (or at least have more than an inkling) of our own sphere of excellence, the trick is to let people know what we can do without making them feel like we’re only seeing them as a potential revenue source. Combine that with a natural reticence to talk about ourselves, and at times it seems like an insurmountable mountain.

Learning from the experts is always an option (provided you can afford their price tag). Yet as Linda Clay of #HeartfeltEmpowerment recently pointed out it’s easy to get lost in the white noise of so many offers and opinions. Finding the right coach is a lot like finding the right therapist. First, you must have at least some idea of what you need help with. Then you need to find someone who can help you without trying to fix you; someone who has at least a little experience with the challenges you face and the obstacles to your success.

Finding the Right Fit

I’ve met many who seem to understand and offer excellent advice, but advice is only as good as our ability to act on it and make it part of our regular routine. All too often, the services I’ve purchased have been little more than money down the drain, not because the service provider wasn’t great at what they did, but because it wasn’t the right fit for me. The first thing I needed to learn was not how to do one thing or another, but that I wasn’t broken and didn’t need to be fixed.

Because we lack a certain skill or vision, many of us see it as a flaw or lack within ourselves. Nothing is further from the truth. There’s a lot to be said for the old saying “jack of all trades, master of none”. We can’t possibly master all facets of running a business plus our unique abilities and talents in a single lifetime. Instead, we need to know when to reach out and ask for help, and try to do so in an orderly fashion.

Figuring Out What Answers We Need So We’ll Know Which Questions To Ask

It’s not always an easy task when your mind jumps from idea to idea as mine tends to do. (big surprise, I know). One day, I think I need help with marketing, the next, a business plan, and who knows what I’ll feel I’m lacking by next Tuesday. The reality smacked me in the head with this week’s yet-to-be-completed homework assignment for #HeartfeltEmpowerment. I have to look first at my ultimate goal, than break it down into smaller pieces. Only then will I be able to see not only all the things I need help with, but the order in which I need to address them.

For someone who spent over 3 decades playing with numbers, spreadsheets, and contracts, it took me an inordinate amount of time to understand one simple fact; I was dealing with businesses that were already well established and had the things I don’t know already tried, tweaked, and regularly reviewed by upper management. In order to get my own balloon off the ground, I need to go through the same process, albeit on a smaller, more personal scale!

Giving and Receiving Our Share of No’s

I’ve taken the long way around, but here’s what else I’ve learned. I will continue to get offers and suggestions as to what I need to do first, how I need to determine my ideal client, branding, marketing, and a bazillion other aspects of the business I am building from the ground up, by and for myself. I need to learn when and where to focus my attention, and when it is in my best interests to offer a polite “no thank you”, or “I’ll consider your offer at a later time when I’m in a better position to fit it into my overall business plan”. Because, just as no’s are good for me and are an indication that I’m showing up, stepping out, and accepting that I’m not a good fit for everyone, so, too are the offerers  who approach me. They know a no from me isn’t personal, but simply a part of their own journey to find those who will benefit most from their expertise.

Showing My Gratitude for Lessons Learned and Lessons Still to Come

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for all of the amazing people who generously share some of their expertise so I can figure out what it is I need first.
  2. I am grateful for the #HeartfeltMovement whose members are willing to work with me, nay, pay it forward for me and so many others knowing we will do the same when we are able.
  3. I am grateful for the people who have listened to me without judgement for the last few years as I stumble and fall on my face over and over, trying to figure out the business of being in a new and different business.
  4. I am grateful for my own resilience and refusal to give up on a dream I risked everything to follow.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; love, friendship, amazing and talented people, generosity, brilliance, encouragement, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your unique and genuine self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

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Painting Goals in Broad Strokes

Synchronicity and Broad Strokes

I subscribe to “Messages from the Universe” which sends an email every weekday full of encouragement and positivity. Quite often, those messages go straight to my heart. The one for April 26th, is especially appropriate for me:

Expecting “end results” – such as wealth and abundance, health and harmony, friends and laughter – in broad brushstrokes, is part of the secret formula for manifesting the life of your dreams.

Expecting your path to follow a certain route – such as writing a bestseller to accumulate wealth, having a particular someone fall in love with you, or insisting upon this idea, that diet, or the other invention to be your deliverance – is just plain messing with the cursed hows and severely limits my options.

He would have to mention “writing a bestseller”, ensuring he had my attention on this one. As several friends share the messages from time to time, I know this is the same message everyone gets, but boy, did it hit home for me!

As often happens, when I get a particularly pointed message from the Universe, it’s repeated several times to ensure I’m paying attention and ready to act on what I’m hearing. I’m getting a similar message from the #HeartfeltAcademy suggesting I set goals and break them into smaller pieces which can be managed daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.

Find a Goal and Break it Down

Of course, the hard part is not only picking one goal, but being realistic about what I can accomplish in smaller segments of time. For example, I’ve tried setting goals to re-write a chapter or two a week, but with other tasks I took on in the meantime, allowed that goal to slip away, not just for a few days, but for months on end.

I’m realizing though we need to pick one goal at a time to focus on, the rest of our life doesn’t come to a standstill while we’re doing it. In order to make those small steps work, we have to be conscious of the other commitments we’ve already made to ourselves; the other goals we are accomplishing every day.

I’ve established goals for my morning pages and gym visits which are now pretty much engraved in stone. Creating another daily activity involves more than just deciding to do it. It means managing my time more efficiently so I can add one more thing to my day or week. Admittedly, I sometimes get frustrated with it all and end up accomplishing nothing except what I was already doing anyway.

Focus on Accomplishments

Instead of beating myself up about it, I’ve learned to take a step back and look at the whole picture. I’ve done my morning pages every day. I’ve gone to the gym 3 times a week for the last couple of months (except the day I came home from the cruise, but as I got over 50,000 steps in 3 days, and the day I missed was leg day, I decided to be OK with a missed day). I also surprised myself by getting up earlier for the last few days as if in preparation for an increase in daily activity and expectations.

Sometimes we have to give our minds and bodies a little time to catch up with our new goals and plans. If we were only doing actual work for 4 hours a day, jumping into an 8-hour day (unless you have to drag yourself into someone else’s office to do so) is extremely difficult, at least on a regular basis. I know my mind is trying to adapt to the idea by getting bored more easily with hitting the snooze, forcing me to  get up after only swatting the obnoxious contraption one or two times instead of my usual five or six.

Also, the rest of the team doesn’t start making adjustments until and unless we prove we’re fully committed to the new demands on our time. My own system decided I was finally ready when I started committing to the homework assignments in the afore-mentioned #HeartfeltAcademy.

Commit First, Ask Questions Later

And yet, I haven’t clearly defined what those new commitments will be. It seems the act of committing to making a change is all it takes for the shift to start happening. Sometimes, taking small steps like choosing healthier food options, or increasing the amount of exercise you get, or even something as simple as setting your alarm can trigger positive changes.

The broad brush strokes we paint pick up on the modifications we make to our normal routine. They recognize our mental shifts even if we haven’t gotten up to speed yet. Which is exactly my point when I suggest setting goals as broadly as possible. The less we get stuck in the details, or as a former colleague put it, the weeds, the more opportunities the Universe has to bring us exactly what we need when we need it.

Of course, simply setting a goal is only the beginning. I’ve spent countless hours writing out what my future world will look like including sights, sounds, smells and tactile sensations. I’ve included little nuances that mean something only to me. I’ve written them longhand and read them out loud to myself and whichever felines choose to grace my desk and pretend to listen. Why? Because our goals begin to manifest from the passion we invest into the reality we envision.

Using the Laws of Attraction

As a firm believer in the Laws of Attraction, I see it as a simple but powerful formula.

Vision + Passion + Action = Manifestation

In other words, you have to have a vision you can see, hear, feel, taste and touch which gets you excited just thinking, writing, or talking about it. The more you picture the life of your dreams, the more excited you get. That excitement attracts opportunities you might not even recognize as stepping stones to your ultimate goal. Regardless, you have to act on the opportunities which come your way, even if they seem, at times, to take you in a different direction.

Thinking about it, I probably should have included “trust” in the equation. You have to trust that the opportunities you’re given are going to take you in the right direction, albeit in a more circuitous manner than you’d have chosen if left to your own devices. But the circuitous path is there for a reason. In part, there are aspects which will hone skills you aren’t yet aware you’ll need. You may also find connections to like-minded people you might have missed had you stayed on a straight and narrow road.

Choosing Our Opportunities Wisely

In my case, I looked at a lot of opportunities for coaching and mentoring, and had actually narrowed my choices down to less than a handful. When an opportunity came to join a community which brought together a number of skills and services along with coaching, I realized it was exactly what I was waiting for, and without thought or analysis, jumped on it immediately. I know some of the changes I’m experiencing now are a direct result of that decision.

Since the life of our dreams is typically a moving target (who knows what we can have until we manifest some of what we think we want?) the process has to evolve as well. We may find we are part way to what we’d been envisioning and find something more exciting and fulfilling to aspire to. That’s perfectly fine, and in fact, it’s more than fine. It’s amazing!

Sometimes We Have to Get Out of Our Own Way

We’re only able to envision things slightly outside our own experience. When we expand our horizons, our visions expand as well.  Right now I may see myself living on a private peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean with my cats, a small rescue operation, groves of fruit trees, and cabins for my artist friends to use when they need a creative retreat. Who’s to say that vision won’t change when I see what else is available? For now, I see myself drinking my morning coffee on the west-facing porch with a cat or three at my side and my morning pages in my lap.

There’s a chef’s kitchen where I can either cook up messes with my daughter and son-in-law, or bring someone in to cook and clean for me. Of course, there’s a two-story library with a spiral staircase, loads of comfortable, well-lit seating, and at least a couple of shelves dedicated to my own published work. I even see myself standing on the staircase toasting a fellow author who got a plum of a book, or even movie deal.

I see it. I believe it. I feel the joy of having it all come true. And yet, there’s also a spark of unknown excitement for what I don’t even see coming yet. That spark keeps my passion alive even when things seem bleak, and I’m ready to throw in the towel and go back to doing something I hate, but which I know will pay the bills. That passion has me accepting new challenges and connecting with people when my introverted self would rather hide. And it has me sitting down at the computer, pounding out another 1500 words or so when, all too often, I didn’t have a thought in my head about what I wanted to write when I sat down in the chair and placed my fingers on the keys.

When our goals are fueled by passion, and we don’t sweat the small stuff, we move forward in spite of ourselves. We can’t stop the forward momentum without hurting ourselves in the process. And frankly, why would we want to?

Throwing in a Little Gratitude to Grease the Wheels

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the friends who have become family.
  2. I am grateful for dancing as it keeps me moving, brings me joy, and attracts all the best people.
  3. I am grateful for my writing. It inspires me, teaches me, and is my greatest commitment to myself.
  4. I am grateful for my cats who love me no matter what, keep me from spending too much time alone, and remind me to take frequent breaks, if only to give them attention or fill their food bowl.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; energy, love, joy, dancing, friendship, exuberance, silliness, supportive people when I need them, opportunities to give support, expanded horizons, peace, health, harmony, philanthropy and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

About the Author

 

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for ghostwriting to help your business grow and thrive. Her specialties are finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author

Choosing Your Lessons and Teachers With Care

Is Money the Only Object?

I come into contact with a lot of coaches these days. Many of them are true artists at their craft and need no justifications to do their job and do it well. But there are others who write long, impassioned Facebook posts about how they justify raising their rates, even, in one case tripling them because, in their words, they only want to work with people who are “…willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.” Unfortunately, these words conjure up a long-ago visit to an EST event where non-members were herded into a separate room after getting a taste of what they could expect from membership in this exclusive cross-section of society. A man stood before us speaking as convincingly as he could, saying that the program was worth anything we had to do to come up with the $200 fee (a lot of money for a college student in the early ’70’s). He lost me when he said “sell your car or your stereo or whatever you have to because you really have to be part of this.”

When anyone tells me I have to be willing to do whatever it takes to buy their program or services I am, as a result of the EST experience extremely dubious. Why? Because the mere fact that they are pushing their services and associated high price tag in this manner tells me it’s all about the money and not about what’s best for me. They are loyal to one thing only; the pursuit of the mighty buck.

Even worse are the ones who tell me to listen to them and do what they say without argument. Excuse me? You’re telling me to simply trust you and your advice because you say so? Without proof of its efficacy for anyone else, much less, me specifically? This approach usually leads to my distrust of anything else that ever comes out of their mouth. I’m a born skeptic and a critical thinker. The combination doesn’t do well with autocracy on any level. In fact, I’m more likely to poke fun at its use, poking crater-sized holes in any argument launched on those terms.

Setting the Right Parameters

I know I need to hire a coach or probably several to help me ascend beyond my current limitations. I also know that I have my own priorities, and nothing anyone else can tell me will change them until I’m ready to change them myself. When the time comes, the coaches I choose will be those who are in it for the satisfaction of helping others achieve their goals and release their blocks first. That those services come with a higher price tag is simply a testament to their success with others like me and a finite number of hours with which to work with their clients.

As an Empath, it’s hard (though not impossible) to convince me of a compassionate and loyal heart where none exists. That being said, there will be times, and have been in the past when I seek expertise from someone who, for all intents and purposes is truly in it for the money; who couldn’t care less whether I succeed or fail aside from how it might impact their own credibility. Yet they have achieved amazing success with their own lives, and have learned a thing or two about how it’s done. I don’t expect every expert I consult to have my best interests at heart. It’s up to me to weigh the pros and cons of doing business with them and decide whether I can tune out what doesn’t resonate to benefit from what does. It is not a perfect world, and sometimes, our most useful and long-lasting lessons come directly from our interaction with the imperfections. They often speak to an imperfection in ourselves which needs to be addressed and molded into something better.

Other times, as I’ve told my daughter many times, I learn as much about what not to do from people as I do what to do and why. Closing your mind to anyone who is not on the same wave-length cuts out at least 50% of the opportunities you have to learn and grow. I’m not willing to slow my own progress just because I don’t adore all of the teachers with whom I’m presented. They key is twofold: recognizing the opportunities and understanding where an emotional attachment is necessary and where it is not. Only then can we be open to learning and growing on all levels instead of living in perpetual myopia.

Gratitude. It Brings Us Exactly What We Need.

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the epiphanies which came to my more open mind yesterday.
  2. I am grateful to be able to release old paradigms which long-ago stopped serving any real purpose.
  3. I am grateful to friends who are helping me see myself differently.
  4. I am grateful for the people who are being put in my path right now as teachers, guides, and new friends.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; lessons, love, challenges, harmony, peace, kindness, compassion, courage, beauty, friendship, honesty, loyalty, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

Check out Wells Baum’s interpretation of today’s Daily Prompt.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. She specializes in finding and expressing your authentic self. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also check out her Facebook page at Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author.

When Your Subconscious Speaks, Listen!

What’s Changed?

How often have you noticed the impact a seemingly small change makes in your life? It could be something you changed consciously, unconsciously, or by random happenstance. Yet the results are the same. Once the change occurs, things are never quite the same.

Recently, I began experiencing something I never had before, and even now, would be happier to have never gone through it. I started having panic attacks over things I’d been doing for years without incident. The first time I really noticed it was when I was washing my hair and got suds in my ear. My reaction to the impact of a temporary hearing impairment was so distorted and out of character, it only served to make me panic even more. Ultimately, with the soap cleared from my ear and my eyes open, I began to calm down. Yet why was I suddenly experiencing this heretofore unknown feeling? What had changed?

I looked at my world and tried to locate the inciting moment. Yes, there had been a lot of turmoil in recent weeks between plumbing issues, visits with my kids, concerns over getting my business running at the level I wanted and, let’s face it, needed. But nothing new seemed to have arisen.

The Crutches We Adopt

Suddenly, I glanced at my right wrist which had been empty for a week or so. Could it be? Was it something so simple?

Several months ago, my daughter and I had bought negative ion bracelets at a fair. I’d been wearing mine non-stop until just recently when I burned my wrist and the bracelet was rubbing against the burn. I removed it to allow the burn to heal.

When I’d purchased the bracelet, the draw was an improvement in my balance, and it seemed like it was working until I removed it and saw no difference. So I hadn’t been in any hurry to put it back on.

But there’s more than one kind of balance in our lives. Apparently, in me, the bracelet had more impact on my internal balance than I’d realized. Without it, my anxiety levels rose at the subconscious level so they went unnoticed for a while. But the incident in the shower made me take notice and start looking more closely at how I was handling those minor setbacks and concerns since removing the bracelet, and I didn’t like what I saw.

Needless to say, the bracelet went back on my wrist right away. Thankfully, the burn had healed by then with a little help from some aloe vera gel and neosporin.

Some might see this as a crutch, and it certainly is to some degree. Yet the need for it wasn’t planted in my brain. Instead, it appeared all by itself.

Navigating the Environmental Minefield

We are all impacted by our environment in one way or another, and we all develop ways to cope with those influences. Whether you’re impacted by the phases of the moon, the electronics in your home and office, the moods and emotions of the people around you, or something else entirely, you’ve found ways to manage them whether you realize it or not. We all have times when even our copying mechanisms fail us. We overreact to things that wouldn’t normally phase us. We avoid a situation entirely because it is suddenly physically, emotionally, or mentally painful. In extreme situations, we shut down and barricade ourselves behind our walls.

However we manifest those failures, and whatever sets us off, it’s part of what makes us human. We are diamonds-in-the-rough, learning as we go. We stumble and, hopefully, pick ourselves up and try again. Sometimes we even reinvent ourselves. In my case, I’ve spent nearly 4 years doing just that, and am still trying to find the right formula. But each wrong turn, each backtrack brings me closer to the person I want and need to be.

Using the Bumps in Our Road to Reassess

Some of those backtracks guide me in my search for a coach and mentor who will help me get past my own blocks and fears. In the process of searching, I’m learning to recognize what I’m doing that’s getting in my own way. I may not know how to fix it when I recognize it, but at least I can see it’s there.

When I started feeling annoyed instead of happy for people who were succeeding either as a writer or VA, I knew there was an underlying issue I needed to address. Part of it was envy, but the real issue was the underlying reason for that envy.

What came to me wasn’t very pretty, nor was it easy to admit. I felt like a failure. While others were finding success in both of my chosen fields, I was still floundering. So I started doing what I usually do when trying to sort out a problem. I made lists of why I was failing:

  • I wasn’t clear on what I wanted to be and do
  • I wasn’t putting in consistent effort to be whatever it was I wanted to be
  • I was letting myself be lazy
  • I was allowing myself to procrastinate
  • I wasn’t putting time into letting people get to know and trust me
  • I was hardly writing anything except my morning pages
  • I’d let my eating habits crash and burn
  • I wasn’t keeping up with my workout routine any more.
Making Sense of it All

When I put it all together, I realized I wasn’t feeling very good about myself, overall. No wonder something as simple as taking off a bracelet sent me into a downward spiral!

My point in sharing all this is two-fold. First, as has been the case for most of my life, writing something down helps me work through it and find the underlying problem. From there, I can begin to search for a solution. Second, I want to share how important it is to look at what’s showing on the surface and dig deeper to find the real symptoms and causes which brought things to the surface in the first place.

The human brain is both complex and amazing. If the popular myth is to be believed, we only use about 10% of our brain. However, neuroscientists disagree, as evidenced by an article published by Eric H. Chudler, PhD. on his website, Neuroscience for Kids. That isn’t to say all of the neurons in our brains are firing every minute of every day. But throughout our day-to-day life, every part of our brain is engaged at some point or another. Dr. Chudler isn’t alone in his viewpoint and cites several other articles which corroborate his belief. Frankly, it makes a lot more sense to me than the 10% theory.

Tapping into our subconscious is one of the ways we utilize the other 90%, and I’d imagine not everyone listens to theirs given the number of people who claim no memory of their dreams. (I can’t even imagine waking in the morning with no memory of my nocturnal travels!)

So my path is set and my journey continues. You may have noticed a sudden increase in the frequency of my posts of late. That, my friends, is the tip of my iceberg. Stay tuned for more.

Gratitude Makes My Day

I’ve found it’s hard to be completely down if I remember the blessings in my life. I remind myself when I go to sleep at night, whenever something happens to make life easier, and of course, right here. Do you have a daily gratitude practice?

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for the gift of writing I was given. It has helped me in immeasurable ways even as it frustrates me.
  2. I am grateful that I can look at myself reasonably objectively and see where I still need work.
  3. I am grateful for dreams that tell me I’m heading in the right direction even if it doesn’t seem like it right now.
  4. I am grateful for the influence and example of friends and new acquaintances. There are some truly amazing people out there with traits I’d do well to emulate.
  5. I am grateful for abundance; opportunities, motivation, inspiration, gifts, love, friendship, joy, innovation, reinvention, peace, harmony, health, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

The Facebook Live associated with this post can be found here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Embracing Change With Gratitude

Honoring and Appreciating Connections

The entrepreneurial life can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, those who reach out to others are likely to find it easier to build their business, if for no other reason than you can’t build a business without clients.

But connections are so much more than potential clients. They are ideas we might not otherwise consider. They’re encouragement when we’re feeling low. They are the ones who share tips and tricks to help get us out of our latest rut. But most of all, they’re the ones who share in our successes and allow us to share in theirs.

Learning From the Lessons and Mistakes of Our Community

My own community is constantly evolving. Lately, I’ve joined a number of entrepreneurial groups on both Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve found some to be great places to hang out, learn and give and take what’s worked and what hasn’t. Others have fallen by the wayside as I discovered they were either not very active or more about the group owner promoting her own products than about having a supportive community. A couple I’ve found to be pretty amazing are Coaches, Experts, Change Makers: Step Into the Spotlight run by Vanessa Talbot, and Radical Wealth Pathway run by Catherine Lee. Interestingly, the groups are at both ends of the spectrum. Catherine’s group currently has less than 50 members while Vanessa’s has over 15,000. This says little about the value or engagement in either group, however. Both women are very active in their groups and are encouraging the members as well as launching programs to help their target audience.

I may not be the ideal client for each of these dynamic women; I benefit not only from associating with them and participating in their groups, but in learning from and engaging with the people they attract. I’m learning to listen to suggestions and plans with an open mind even when they kick my comfort zone in the proverbial butt. Yet recently, I’m also learning I need to be more selective about which paths I choose to embrace.

Embracing Change

In the last few years, I’ve changed my life so drastically, it’s hardly recognizable any more. Some of those changes have been for the better, while others—not so much. I’ve stuck with some for months on end, only to have life’s usual upheavals screw me up, leaving me to start again. (my gym routine for one). I’ve started others, like getting up by 8 AM and stuck with them for a while, only to let those same upheavals have me fail myself again.

From those failures I’ve learned over and over to be more committed to myself and my own success. I’ve learned I need to make changes gradually, but not give up on making them. I’ve also learned that when I get suggestions from the amazing, talented, successful women in my community, I need to put them together on a list and figure out which ones will not only benefit me, but which I’ll be able to successfully commit to.

It all came to a head for me when Anna Shelley posted her #intention in Coaches and Change Makers. She said:

That’s 2.5 years of finally accepting I couldn’t do my old biz any more, going within DAILY, learning the brain science behind transformation, teaching myself clairvoyance, accepting that I am Artist AF and ALLOWING my biz to be a messy convoluted combination that should technically not even work. 2.5 years of defining and refining all of this – journaling my heart out – literally writing my reality into existence.

Her words stopped me in my tracks. For 3.5 years I’ve been listening to a lot of different people tell me how to create my business, promote my business, and structure my business. I’ve felt like I’ve failed myself because I couldn’t get the hang of successfully pitching (except to publications who either don’t pay, pay mere pennies a word, or expect you to pay for advertising in order to get published). I was convinced I was just doing it all wrong until I read Anna’s words.

In a way, I have been doing it all wrong, but not in the way I thought. I’ve been trying to do it someone else’s way instead of following my own heart! It’s a lot like my chili cook-off days when I learned you cannot take the comments of all the judges to heart or you’ll end up with an unpalatable mess. My efforts at creating a successful business had become just that; an unpalatable mess.

Building on Our Specialties

I’ve spent way too much time trying to be a copywriter and VA instead of focusing on what I’m truly good at. I’ve fought with myself over being too scattered when I tried to promote my accounting business and my writing. Anna’s words made me realize I’m very good at both, so why close off one in favor of the other? In fact, my ADD brain loves having the opportunity to switch gears. I’ve even discovered that I have sweet spots, time wise when I’m better at one or the other.

Contrary to my previous pattern of writing from 10PM until 2 or 3AM, I’m finding I write better when I get to it within a couple of hours of writing my morning pages. My creative juices are flowing and the habit of writing is alive and well.

Doing accounting work seems to flow better between about 2PM and 9PM. I don’t know why, nor does it really matter. All I know is that I find it easier to focus and hold that focus for several hours at a stretch after my writing is done, lunch is eaten, and errands or meditation are behind me. Somehow, that’s just when my analytical brain kicks in and is ready to kick some butt and take names.

After a couple of days of giving my brain what it wants, I feel more accomplished and positively energized. While I still don’t have a marketing plan in place, or even a solid business plan, work is starting to come my way without all the effort and strain I’ve been exerting for so long.

Who’s on Your Virtual Team?

We all need a virtual team. Even hermits like me. We need the builder uppers and the ones who show us it can be done despite the obstacles in our way. We’re inspired by the successes of those around us and learn from the mistakes people make before getting back up and trying again. And if you’re like me, we can use a little butt kicking now and then when we let our failures stop us in our tracks instead of seeing the lessons they contain.

My virtual team includes people from all directions; high school classmates (and some from even further back), coaches I’ve met online, artists and writers from some of the groups I’ve joined, and many people who have become friends virtually and live all over the world. They all bring something new to my life and help me grow into my full potential. I’d be so much less without them.

 Giving and Taking Encouragement

Many of those virtual teammates have given me a lot of their time both directly and indirectly. They share articles which shine a light on the darkness of my frustration. They take the time to offer suggestions on how I can regain my forward momentum. The very best thing the do, though is to share their successes and insight into how they got there.

I don’t mean the ones who are constantly yammering on about 6-figure incomes (and frankly, many of those are so young, I find it hard to take their claims seriously). I have to agree with Vanessa on this one, and cry “bullshit”. The internet allows us to fake a lot of things besides just news. So many of these people are working too hard drumming up business to truly be making and sustaining those incomes they claim.

I’m talking about the ones who are as down-to-earth as I am, and who are focused on helping others achieve their goals, get past their blocks, and thrive. They don’t talk about how much money they’re making because they know their ideal client couldn’t give a flying one about their real or alleged income. It has little to no bearing on their decision to hire a coach to level-up their business. They’re looking for a coach who is  part cheerleader, part butt-kicker, and part mastermind. Frankly, focusing on the money makes me feel like just another statistic or notch in someone’s belt.

Some people believe the hype about putting your money where your mouth is. For me, I’d rather see the actions support the words.

Recognition for Your Accomplishments

You have to be your own cheerleader too, though. One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is to list a few things I’ve accomplished, daily or weekly. At the top of my list is always “made my bed”. To some, that’s a small thing, but to many of us, it is the first thing we accomplish when we start our day, and that’s worth celebrating.

Whatever you might have accomplished, be it huge like booking a high dollar client, or small like making the bed or unloading the dishwasher, they’re all worth celebrating. Seeing we’ve made progress on anything is the most motivating action we can take to accomplish even more. I know the days when I can only think of 4 or 5 things to put on that list give me the kick in the butt I need to re-visit the never-ending to-do list in the days to follow (like today when I’m knocking a couple of past due blog posts off my editorial calendar!).

Gratitude for Things Large and Small

Ending my posts with several gratitudes has become a habit, but it’s also something which makes me feel I’ve had a good day, no matter what. When I forget about my gratitudes; when I fail to recognize the good things in my life, it becomes too easy to wallow or whine. So here are my gratitudes for today.

  1. I am grateful for my tribe; my virtual team and the friends who are sharing this journey with me.
  2. I am grateful for the groups I’ve found where people share their wins and losses, and help each other celebrate the former, overcome the latter, grow, and thrive.
  3. I am grateful for the Facebook Lives I’ve been doing which provide me with an almost endless source of material for my blog posts
  4. I am grateful for the many lessons I’ve learned including the latest; to embrace the crazy, messy, convolutedness that makes me, me.
  5. I am grateful for abundance: friendship, lessons, tribes, support, encouragement, love, laughter, progress, inspiration, opportunities, self-love, recognition, peace, harmony, philanthropy, and prosperity.

Love and Light

 

You can find the associated Facebook Live here.

Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, Virtual Assistant and advocate for cats. She believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. She is available for article writing and ghost writing to help your website and the business it supports grow and thrive. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information.

Coaching is a Dance: Sometimes You Lead and Sometimes You Follow

Helping Others Starts With Intention

As I spend more time in entrepreneurial groups, I come in contact with a lot of people who are both selling something and have a desire to help others. Many offer unsolicited advice or a few helpful hints, and I appreciate the time they take to do so. But a couple of days ago, I received a private message in response to a comment I’d made on someone’s post, and the resulting conversation (which admittedly, I should have ended sooner) left me feeling angry and even a bit soiled for the encounter. I thought about revisiting the transcript of the conversation if  for no other reason, to understand what I might have done differently to keep it from becoming combative and from activating my defense mechanisms. I actually did the smart thing this time, and distanced myself from the whole thing for a couple of days.

With new perspective, I realize that while his technique was, for me, offensive, it might have been the voice of my conscience asking, no, demanding to be heard. He didn’t ask any questions I haven’t been asking myself. I simply took it badly coming from a complete stranger who seemed to be sticking his nose in where it didn’t belong. It especially irked me when he told me I wasn’t a good fit for him as a client. It didn’t matter that I’d already concluded he wasn’t a good fit for me as a coach. To have him dismiss me like that…well, it HURT!

The Good, Bad, and Ugly Side of Coaches

In a world where coaching of all sorts has become a huge part of our economy, there seems to be an influx of people showing up daily on social media who are promoting talents and abilities which are hard to prove unless they already have a plethora of clients with proven results. That’s when I wonder why they’re pounding the virtual pavement looking for more?

In some cases, they have a genuine interest in helping people, and are looking for someone unlike their bread and butter clients to satisfy that desire in themselves. In that case, I wouldn’t expect them to be dismissive or cruel if a person they chose wasn’t receptive to the gift they were offering. Others are using a technique I’m seeing more and more, and liking less and less. It involves tearing someone down and pointing out their failings, then offering to swoop in like a fairy godmother and fix what’s broken—for a “small” fee, of course.

Don’t get me wrong. Everyone deserves to support themselves in the style they have envisioned. I simply take issue with doing it at the expense of someone else’s self-esteem. There are better ways to share your services without being abusive about it.

What Qualifies a Coach?

At any rate, the coaching profession has many faces. Each of those faces has different levels of expertise, and certainly, just getting through life with sanity intact is a powerful qualification. Some may have recognizable letters after their name; MFT, PhD, M.D. and more. Others have gone through some kind of certification program offered by yet another coach in their field. I tend to be more receptive to the ones who got at least part of their expertise from the ever-popular school of hard knocks. I find it easier to find value in the words and advice of someone who has actually been down in the trenches where I am now. Someone who has figured out how to climb out and turn all of the lessons they learned into stepping stones to something better.

I guess that’s why, for the most part I’m resistant to having a 30-something tell me they know how to fix my life. There are certainly exceptions, as I know a couple of 30-somethings who have been dealt more crap in their short lifetimes than I’ve seen in mine and that of 3 or 4 of my friends. From those lessons, they, like their older counterparts learned there’s a time to push and a time to step back and let the magic unfold in its own time and fashion.

The very best in the coaching community never stop learning themselves. They’ve discovered a secret I learned as a parent. Sometimes the best teacher of all is the student, be it your child, a person you’re working with, or just someone in the world at large. They know when to be the teacher and when to go with the flow when a role reversal occurs in the natural course of things.

The Road to Coaching Isn’t My Road

All this being said, I don’t see myself in the role of a coach, at least not officially. I think we all assume that role on occasion, even if the only task we have is to give encouragement and feedback. Many times, I’m on the sidelines cheering others to victory and that is one function of a coach. Other times, I’m asking questions or even kicking a little butt to help someone I know get past their own roadblocks. Both roles are ultimately rewarding and I learn a little more about myself at the same time.

My final thought on this subject which, much to my amazement I’ve managed to pursue without major topic changes is that coaches are no different than any other relationship we engage in. The people involved have to be a good fit. There has to be a connection. Many times it isn’t something obvious though in my case, I know I connect best with people who are either empathic or highly sensitive. Some people really respond well to a coach who will beat them over the head with their shortfalls and browbeat them into fixing what’s not working. Others need a kinder, gentler approach. But whatever works for you, it has to get you to the point where you leave your comfort zone behind you and go through some pain to break fear of all that holds you back. Fear grips us with angry tentacles and doesn’t release us willingly. Breaking the suction will lead a few bruises, but recognizing it’s for the best and continuing to wrest control of our lives from those fears comes with phenomenal rewards. But only if you’re willing to do the work and most of all, ask for help when you need it.

Finding Gratitude in Everything

My gratitudes today are:

  1. I am grateful for experiences which make me step back from myself and see how I’m halting my own progress.
  2. I am grateful for the people who have come into my life at various places to show me better ways to be me.
  3. I am grateful for the mistakes I make as it means I’m making an effort to do more, be better.
  4. I am grateful for my writing which is an outlet for everything I think, see, and feel.
  5. I am grateful for infinite abundance; friendship, optimism, friendship, clarity, inspiration, motivation, dreams, goals, intentions, love, joy, philanthropy, peace, harmony, health, and prosperity.

Love and Light

You can find the link to my Facebook Live on Coaching here.

 

I invite you to visit my Facebook pages, Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author and HLWT Accounting. Please also drop by my website, www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!

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